Padres prospects: Four players off to a scorching start

Minor League Baseball kicked off a little more than a week ago, and it is an exciting time for baseball. The return is a breath of fresh air for fans and prospects alike as it brings with it a return to a level of normalcy. The  San Diego Padres hold their status as one of the top 10 farm systems in baseball, and as such, have a multitude of talent at all levels.

Through the first week of the season, there have been a few prospects standing out. Thus far, the sample size is not large enough to dictate the remainder of the season, and players hitting at the level they have been will most likely not remain sustainable. However, a strong start is still welcome, and so we will look at one guy in each level who is riding a hot streak.

Padres prospects: Who’s riding the hot streak?

At the lowest level of Low-A Lake Elsinore, two guys have stood out — INF Ripken Reyes and C/1B Brandon Valenzuela. Reyes put together a strong year in 2019, slashing .308/.412/.430 between rookie ball and Fort Wayne. Not a big power guy, Reyes has found ways to produce.

Through eight games, Reyes is slashing .389/.577/.611 with a 1.188 OPS through his first 27 plate appearances. Yet to hit a home run, Reyes has a pair of doubles and triple under his belt. One of his biggest strengths has been his patience, as he has five walks and one strikeout. Reyes has delivered and is faring better versus pitchers older than him in situations with two outs and RISP.

Valenzuela, meanwhile, has been the power catalyst as he has hit three home runs in his first five games and is currently slashing .298/. 411/.510. Valenzuela had not previously been a power hitter before this season but has somehow found it this year.

Moving up the chain of command to High-A Fort Wayne, centerfielder Jawuan Harris has put together a sturdy level of consistency, and thus far, it has translated into a .357/.591/.786 line through his first five games. Harris has been an above-average performer in his first three years and will hopefully keep the trend moving positively this season.

The higher levels — Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A El Paso — saw outfielder Robbie Podorsky and second baseman Ivan Castillo (recently called up to the major league club) show up in their first respective week. Podorsky small in stature at 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds but has made up for it with a start as one of the best to this point. Podorsky is slashing .331/.395/.433 and with a .827 OPS.

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He has effectively doubled his walk rate to that of his strikeout rate and has swiped two bags through his first six games. Castillo, meanwhile, has been riding high and is slashing .444/.519/1.035 through seven games.

The sample size is fresh for these four. However, we are a week into this minor league marathon, and so far, it is all systems go for these four prospects.